Aaron Judge hasn’t been the only culprit behind one of the Yankees’ worst postseason performances in franchise history in the 2022 ALCS, but he’s the team’s most important player and the one who most easily could’ve changed the series’ trajectory.
Instead, Judge has had his worst sustained stretch of the season, and potentially of his entire Yankees career, and it comes with No. 99 on the verge of entering free agency.
The timing has been poor for a multitude of reasons, and Judge’s distracting stamp has been on this Houston rematch in all the wrong ways. From his Game 2 homer that wasn’t/ignited the “roof blame” conversation, to his unfortunate route in front of Harrison Bader that led to Chas McCormick’s Game 3 homer, to much more swing-and-miss than usual, Judge hasn’t been the sole offender in a team-wide implosion, but he’s by far the most talented imploder.
And, again, the numbers are inexcusable.
Yankees fans could be booing Aaron Judge into a free agent departure
To be clear: booing Aaron Judge after a 62-homer regular season seems reactionary and unwise. He’s a hero for good reason. He is the American League home run record holder, and that record was set literally three weeks ago.
That said … Yankee fans have a high standard, but the team’s current performance wouldn’t meet an extremely low standard.
Fans in the Bronx complain far too much about minor inconveniences, but this series — and postseason — have actually been worth booing, if that’s your thing. The team demanded a rematch with the Houston Astros, and did not show up whatsoever. Judge is the de facto captain. He’s going to have to wear some of that discontent, as wrongheaded as that sounds to say out loud.
The timing, though, folks. The timing.
Judge is now a career .217 hitter in the postseason, but with an .800+ OPS. He hits for power, but not for average. He’s not himself, but he’s better than most.
And now he is poised to enter free agency with an oily, depressing taste in his mouth, while some segments of fans — some, not all! — contemplate where they even want their team to pay him at all.
They’re not “blowing it” when they boo. They’re making an active decision that they’d like to end an era.